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Court rules against anti-gay Christian group’s effort to recall El Paso mayor

Sunday, February 19, 2012

EL PASO, Texas — A Texas appeals court on Friday ruled against a coalition of anti-gay Christian groups who sought to recall El Paso mayor John Cook and two city representatives after they voted to restore health benefits to gay and unmarried partners of city employees.

John Cook

The ruling by the Eighth Court of Appeals said that the recall group violated the law in its petition drive and ordered the municipal clerk to decertify the recall petitions, instructing that no recall election using them can be held.

The case stems from a November 2010 ballot measure to block same-sex partners of city employees from obtaining health care benefits.

Tom Brown, pastor of the Word of Life Church, organized the ballot measure, but did so without use of an attorney to advise on the verbiage.

The measure, aimed at promoting “traditional family values,” asked voters to limit benefits to “city employees and their legal spouse and dependent children.”

So when 55 percent of the voters approved the measure on Election Day, they eliminated coverage for some 200 people who don’t fit that description — among them elected officials, who aren’t technically city employees, and many former city workers, including retired police and fire department employees.

Unless amended or repealed, unions and city officials feared the law could grow to affect at least 10,00 others over the next several years, promoting Cook and city Reps. Susie Byrd and Steve Ortega to vote to restore the benefits.

Brown and his church helped organize the recall effort and invited people there and to other churches to join the petition drive and sign petitions, but the Cook argued that organizers of the petition drive violated a law prohibiting corporations — including nonprofit churches — from making political contributions to recall elections, the El Paso Times reported.

Brown said he would appeal the decision to the Texas Supreme Court.

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Filed under: Texas

16 more reader comments:

  1. good.

    Posted on Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 4:10pm
  2. We need alot more brave and intelligent elected officials and courts like these!

    Posted on Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 4:13pm
  3. Fundamentalists Christians are so mean-spirited.

    Posted on Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 4:23pm
  4. Christians are judgemental… always trying too fixed other people problems!

    Posted on Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 4:56pm
  5. Stop passing judgment on people…..

    Posted on Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 4:57pm
  6. I am a Christian because I love God but I am Bi-sexual. Not all Christians are Judgmental so I just wanted to clear that up.

    Posted on Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 5:51pm
  7. God loves ALL people~~

    Posted on Sunday, February 19, 2012 at 7:54pm
  8. It’s time for pro-equality change in El Paso.

    Posted on Monday, February 20, 2012 at 11:36am
  9. This is insane. Why would a church demand elected officials to be recalled and replaced because the officials voted for fair and equal treatment under the law.

    Posted on Monday, February 20, 2012 at 11:43am
  10. Wow bigotry didn’t win in elpaso

    Posted on Monday, February 20, 2012 at 11:46am
  11. Good, they shouild have fined them for their ignorance & wasteing courts time !

    Posted on Monday, February 20, 2012 at 12:01pm
  12. I seriously see the Christian right wing starting to realize that they are the minority in this country and they don’t like it. They are starting to panic. And desperate people say and do desperate things. I believe that when all is said and done, equality will be guaranteed for all. I believe that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights will prevail and we will all be able to get on with living our lives. The haters will still be there, but they won’t be so loud because people are getting tired of hearing their hatred. But, until then, we still have to fight. Kudos to this Texas court for doing the right thing.

    Posted on Monday, February 20, 2012 at 12:28pm
  13. Agree equal rights!!!!! Im frm El Paso..I think time 4 change!

    Posted on Monday, February 20, 2012 at 12:35pm
  14. Yeah God loves all LGBT people it shouldnt matter who you fall in love with

    Posted on Monday, February 20, 2012 at 7:36pm
  15. YAY!!! Another victory for us!

    Posted on Monday, February 20, 2012 at 7:39pm
  16. read the letter its long but it is so awesome and for some it will be enlightening

    Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2012 at 7:24pm